Preparing to move a small business is much more challenging and complicated than moving a household. Preparation and planning will ensure that everything is finished on time without any major moving problems.
First, determine time frames and set a master schedule. Similar to project management, every major task must be individually analyzed with customized deadline and requirements. Start from the move out date and work backwards to create a chronological task list with measurable goals. If necessary, set up a move committee and task them with planning and organizing the move. Be sure to hold informative meetings with staff so that everyone is one the same page. This is also an excellent time to brainstorm and collaborate to solve difficult problems. Planning will allow management to seamlessly design and map out the new office space, which will ensure a smooth transition.
Before packing begins, asses what office equipment and supplies are not needed. Old dot matrix printers, print calculators and brick cell phones should be donated to charity or recycled. Many recycling companies offer free pick up services for bulky pieces of equipment or appliances. Take advantage of this opportunity to recycle old documentation and throw away useless items. Be sure to establish guidelines for recycling old files because certain legal documentation, such as tax and employment files, has federally mandated retention periods. A move is also a great opportunity to buy new office equipment, such as desks and chairs, and eco-friendly electronic equipment, such as printers and copiers.
Creating an internal communications plan will keep employees informed of updates and moving plans while also reducing stress and confusion. An external communication plan will keep clients, suppliers and other businesses aware of projected business activities during the move. Prepare things like announcement letters and stationery to help spread the word. In this way, your business will remain operational during the transition. Be sure to either temporarily freeze inventory or office supply shipments until the move is finalized. If this isn’t possible, reroute them to the new location. This will minimize moving costs and packing needs. It is easy to change a home or business address through the USPS’ website.
Consider scheduling with utility and service companies to shut off services the day of or before the move, while also preemptively starting service at the new location. Having fully functional phones, electrical and Internet service is critical to business operations. IT and communications planning is necessary because the new building may not have adequate wiring for telephone and computer networks. Ideally, allow a few employees to set up a rudimentary office in the new building with all utilities running. This will ensure a smooth transition because they will be able to take care of tasks, business needs and customer requirements that otherwise may be delayed during the move.
Finally, be sure to hire movers who have an excellent reputation at least a few months in advance and ask for proof of insurance and a few references.